I have been a backstage tour guide at the Metropolitan Opera for the past 30 years, so it was with great delight that I read about the Lazer’s newfound enthusiasm for the opera. Yes, as convoluted as the stories can sometimes seem, they sometimes also mirror life with themes of greed, jealousy revenge, family strife, love and hope. Absolutely sit in parterre, open up to the soaring unamplified singing and maybe your own passionate feelings. Comfortable seats and elegant surroundings further contribute to a memorable experience. A good introduction and adjunct to the opera are the Met’s HD movie performances at theaters throughout the boroughs. Do not be reluctant to take your children to the opera. From my experience, children are impressed by this most visual and comprehensive form of the arts, as one middle student excitedly expressed to me during a full dress rehearsal, referring to the soprano: “She nailed it!”
A Thank You
My personal thanks to Katie McFadden for her beautiful, descriptive article, “A Soldier’s Send-Off.” She captured the essence of our commitment to continue to honor these veterans in their final journey.
Just To Be Clear
I’m Michael O’Kane, a past president and a member of the board of directors of Vietnam Veterans of America Queens Chapter 32.
Your article on the American Legion’s Program of Burial of Indigent Veterans gives the reader the impression that Chapter 32 has ceased its Indigent Veteran Burial Program.
Just to set the record straight, the Indigent Veteran Program was begun by Chapter 32 in 2008 by then President Pastor (Pat) Toro and the Martino Family of Hess-Miller Funeral Home. Since then, the Chapter has seen to the burial of more than 130 veterans without next of kin. We do this in partnership with Hess-Miller Funeral home of Middle Village.
Our program is still a very active program. And we do it correctly. The Chapter accompanies the deceased to Calverton National Cemetery and ensures a proper interment with full military honors, including the playing of Taps, flowers and a final salute from Chapter members at the graveside.
Vietnam Veterans of America’s founding principle is “Never Again Shall One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another.” If our Indigent Burial program isn’t an example of that principle, I don’t know what is.
As a regular reader of Dr. Galvin’s essays, I wish to compliment him on last week’s commentary. As a physician practicing medicine for 51 years, Dr. Galvin’s message echoes much of what we old-time docs believe in and that is to understand that our patients are our best teachers.
To quote William Osler, the first physician over a hundred years ago to bring medical students out of the classroom for bedside clinical training, “To study the phenomenon of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all.”
It is unfortunate that today the practice of medicine is more removed from actual patient interaction. The physician of today relies on computers and advanced technologies to reach a diagnosis, and then a treatment plan. In many instances, we are better able to diagnose a disease, but the human element is frequently missing, and therefore the illness a patient suffers may not be well understood.
Our technological advances have far outpaced our day-to-day management of disease. Many conditions call for speaking with and guiding our patients to understand the importance of lifestyle, as poor choices have led to the biggest health care problems e.g., the obesity epidemic and narcotic abuse, both of which have led to a decline in life expectancy.
Dr. Galvin’s message needs to be taken seriously, otherwise we will continue to face a decline in our health care system.
William Erber, MD
Kudos to all the people who make noise, go to rallies, and work tirelessly to protect our beaches. The only reason Rockaway is getting sand this summer is because of all of our “squeaky wheels.” Keep it up!
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